New lightweight lifejackets are to be given to the crews of more than 70 fishing boats around the island to help improve sea safety.
The specially-designed lifejackets have been bought through a joint funding project involving the Isle of Man Fishermen’s Mission, the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and the Department of Economic Development’s Ship Registry.
Being light and comfortable to wear, they are specifically designed for use by fishermen and do not impede working practices at sea.
A total of 130 jackets will be supplied to fishermen on 72 Manx-registered vessels.
Alan Crowe MLC, DED member with responsibility for the Ship Registry, said: ‘One of the barriers to fisherman wearing lifejackets on a regular basis is that they are cumbersome. These new lifejackets have been designed in consultation with fishermen and do not obstruct the wearer.
‘We have been involved in this scheme from the outset and now look forward to seeing all fishermen wearing lifejackets on deck. ’.
The IoM Fishermen’s Mission will arrange their annual servicing to ensure the equipment stays in good condition. Advice on care and maintenance will be provided by RNLI safety manager Frankie Horne.
Mike Craine, honorary agent for the Fishermen’s Mission, said: ‘We look after the welfare of Manx fishermen and firmly believe that, if fishermen always wear these life jackets on the open decks of their vessels, lives could be saved.’